Darlington Akabwai

Darlington AkabwaiSenior Researcher

Working with Feinstein Since: 1995
Based in: Lodwar, Kenya

Darlington Akabwai conducts research and is responsible for research operations for Feinstein projects in Uganda and South Sudan, with an emphasis on Karamoja. He works closely with governments and local communities to ensure that research projects are carried out effectively and respectfully. Having worked on community-based programs with pastoralist communities in Africa for more than 25 years, Darlington is an expert on indigenous knowledge and culture. His training as a veterinarian and his reputation as a peacemaker affords him great respect throughout the region. Officials within the African Union’s Conflict Management Unit consider him to be one of the most respected and successful peacemakers in Uganda, Kenya, and Sudan, and they regularly call on his expertise.

Prior to joining Feinstein, Darlington pioneered community-based approaches to livestock care in East Africa and was instrumental in establishing programs that controlled rinderpest in Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya. With the African Union, Darlington developed one of the cornerstones of its work: pastoral conflict resolution and management, including working with local women to bring peace to the area with “Women’s Peace Crusades.”

He holds a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Nairobi.

Darlington’s dog, Rex, is his great friend who never stops barking.


Research Interests:
  • Livelihoods and human security
  • The Seer people in pastoral areas of eastern Africa
  • Urban migration of pastoralists ending their practice of pastoralism
Regional Focus:
  • Uganda
  • South Sudan
Most Recent External Publications:
  • Elizabeth Stites and Darlington M. O. Akabwai. 2010. “’We are now reduced to women’: Impacts of forced disarmament in Karamoja, Uganda.” Nomadic Peoples 14(2).
  • Darlington M. O. Akabwai. 2009. “The Social Transformation of Pastoralist Conflicts and Cattle Rustling in Eastern Africa: The AK-47 Factor.” ISS.
  • Darlington M. O. Akabwai. 1992. “Extension and Livestock Development: Experience From among the Turkana Pastoralists of Kenya.” ODI (December).

Feinstein Publications

A Better Balance: Revitalized Pastoral Livelihoods in Karamoja, Uganda

This report reviews the state of animal-based livelihoods in the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda and examines how animal ownership affects a household’s ability to weather shocks.

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“We now have relative peace”: Changing Conflict Dynamics in Northern Karamoja, Uganda

This study provides a nuanced understanding of the transformation of violence for women, men, girls and boys in northern Karamoja at the household, community, district and the regional levels. Drivers…

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“It’s Better to Sweat than to Die:” Rural-to-Urban Migration, Northern Karamoja, Uganda

Much of the literature on urbanization focuses on migration to large cities. In contrast, this report traces the process, challenges, and opportunities of rural-urban migration to towns and small cities…

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Engaging Male Youth in Karamoja, Uganda

The Feinstein International Center at Tufts University is pleased to announce a new publication in collaboration with the Learning on Gender and Conflict in Africa  (LOGiCA) Program of the World…

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Livelihood Dynamics in Northern Karamoja A Participatory Baseline Study for the Growth Health and Governance Program
By John Burns, Gezu Bekele, Darlington Akabwai | September 2013

This report documents the findings of a livelihoods assessment carried out as part of the USAID funded Growth, Health and Governance program being implemented by Mercy Corps and partners in…

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Tradition in Transition: Customary Authority in Karamoja, Uganda

This study examines the evolution of customary authority among four population groups: the Jie, Dodoth, Matheniko, and Tepeth

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Life in Town: Migration from rural Karamoja to Moroto and Mbale

Migration from rural Karamoja to towns, cities and other rural areas has long been part of local livelihood strategies, but attention to this phenomenon by national and international actors in…

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Foraging and Fighting Community Perspectives on Natural Resources and Conflict in Southern Karamoja

This joint publication by the Feinstein International Center and Save the Children in Uganda examines the perspectives and experiences of communities in the southern Karamoja region of Uganda regarding natural…

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Changing Roles, Shifting Risks Livelihood Impacts of Disarmament in Karamoja, Uganda

This report is the result of the first phase of a partnership with Save the Children in Uganda. Based on field work conducted in April 2009 in Moroto and Kotido…

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Angering Akuju Survival and Suffering in Karamoja

Karamoja is the poorest and least developed region of Uganda. The population experiences chronic food insecurity, little access to basic services, the weakening of traditional livelihood systems, ongoing insecurity, human…

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The Scramble for Cattle, Power and Guns in Karamoja

This new report on the Karamoja Cluster of Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia is the result of several years of field work by a respected Teso elder from the region…

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Out-migration, Return, and Resettlement in Karamoja, Uganda The case of Kobulin, Bokora County

As part of a larger project entitled “Livelihoods and Human Security in Karamoja,” this briefing paper presents findings on causal factors and broad patterns in out-migration among the Bokora population….

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Feinstein Research Projects

Seers as War makers, Peace Makers, and Leaders within the Karamoja Cluster

Feinstein field research throughout the Karamoja region will allow us to document and analyze how seers operate within their own communities and shed light on the complex nature of their relationships with other tribal groups, both friends and enemies.

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Growth, Health, and Governance, Karamoja, Uganda

This USAID-funded five year project (2012-2017) aims to improve livelihoods outcomes for the pastoral, agro-pastoral, and agrarian populations in the region.

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Community Animal Health and Participatory Epidemiology (CAPE)

This project supported community-based animal health worker (CAHW) systems in pastoralist areas, and contributed to the final eradication of rinderpest under the Pan African Program for the Control of Epizootics.

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